British GT Brands Hatch GP
Since we raced in the British GT Championship in the 2008 season the Aston Martin DBRS9 that we race has had 3 upgrade packages (one for each year).
The British GT organisers have now bought out a GT3B class for cars that are 3 years older than the current spec cars. Aston Martin Racing are also due to launch a new GT3 car at the end of this year which has the same V12 engine as the DBRS9 but based on a V8 Vantage chassis.
With this in mind we decided that it would be cost effective to run in the GT3B class of the British GT Championship and not spend £80k on upgrades with a view to wait until the new car is unveiled.
Our Drivers would once again be the team owner Tom Alexander and close friend Adrian Willmott.
With some new faces in the 22GT Racing team added to the existing team members the garage, pit perch and fuel rig took no time at all to set up.
Both Tom and Adrian arrived on Friday evening ready for Saturdays 2 x 1 hour practise sessions and a half hour qualifying session. The 2 hour endurance race took place on Sunday, late afternoon.
2 x 1 hour practice sessions.
With both drivers not driven the car for a while we used the 1st hour session to get used to the car and the circuit. The second session was used as a dummy quali run for Adrian with the remainder of the session allowing Tom to have a good amount of time in the car.
Tom qualified first making sure he did his 3 timed laps without spinning up the wheels or damaging the tyres for Adrian to try and put in a good time, he managed a 1.30.1 which gave us P16 on the grid. Striving for a better time a new set of slicks were bolted onto the car and off he went again to try and better his time. He did this on his final lap with a 1.29.9 but remained in 16th position. Adrian thought that there was more time in the car and after looking at the in car footage later that evening it showed that he was blocked in his final lap losing 7 tenths.
We started the race on the left hand side of the 8th row of the grid; it had been raining but had stopped momentarily leaving the track surface very greasy especially off the racing line. At the lights went out during the rolling start everyone frantically tried to get a good position into Paddock Hill bend, fortunately for us the other GT3B class Ferrari we were racing spun and had difficulty rejoining the track.
At the end of the first lap Adrian had moved up to P13 and at the end of the 2nd lap he was P10. On lap 6 he overtook the Ford GT, lap 14 overtook the Audi, lap 15 overtook the Ferrari, and all 3 of these cars are current GT3 spec cars.
The teams was then notified that we had a drive through penalty for overtaking under yellows, Adrian was told and pitted immediately, the pit lane speed limit was 50kph, our DBRS9 has a pit speed limiter set at 60kph and we have no speed indicator on the dash so Adrian was reminded to go slow, however trying to judge 50kph after you’ve been doing 160mph proved very difficult and we were penalised further with a 1 second stop-go penalty for being 1 second under the 20sec drive through time. All was not lost as the safety car came our and Adrian was able to close the gap to his rivals. It then started raining.
Conditions proved difficult but didn’t warrant a tyre change, the other GT3 DBRS9 fell foul to the treacherous conditions and had to be pulled out the gravel twice whilst behind the safety car. Adrian said the car was undrivable whilst coming into the pits on lap 39 for re-fuel, tyre change, diver change.
It was decided that we would not change the tyres but chance running for the 2 hours on the first set which no one had tried before. We re-fuelled the car, strapped Tom in and sent it on its way. Adrian had mentioned to Tom that it was like driving on ice which Tom found to be true as he sailed off at Paddock Hill bend on his out lap. Fortunately he was able to rejoin, after a few more laps getting used to the circuit with improving conditions he felt more settled in the car.
As the race progressed Tom settled in to a consistent pace matching several other 2011 spec cars towards the end of the race, bringing the car home in a respectable 19th overall, 2nd in class, 1st DBRS9 over the Finnish line.
Considering this is the cars first race in 3 years an overall good result and an enjoyable weekend for the drivers and the 22GT Racing team.
More information on this event will appear soon.
Check back closer to the event date for an update.
Thank you for your interest in 22GT Racing.